PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Tuberculosis is the leading cause of death among HIV-positive Ghanaians, with one study blaming TB for 57 percent of HIV-related deaths in the mid-sized West-African nation. To tackle the problem, a partnership between Brown University and the University of Ghana will use a new five-year grant from the Fogarty International Center of the U.S. National Institutes of Health to increase research capacity.
“The gaps in TB and HIV research in Ghana cut across several disciplines including epidemiology, basic, clinical, social, behavioral, and implementation sciences as well as public health and health services,” said principal investigator Dr. Awewura Kwara, professor of medicine in the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. “This NIH Fogarty grant funding will support the training of Ghana scientists and researchers who will acquire complimentary expertise to ultimately develop independent high-quality research to address yet unanswered and emerging questions that could transform TB prevention and treatment programs for people living with HIV.”
Ultimately the new $1.45-million program, which builds on years of previous medical education collaboration, will enhance the training of scores of Ghanaian researchers, Kwara said.
“By the end of the fifth year, we intend to have trained two Ph.D. degree candidates, six master’s degree candidates, and four postdoctoral trainees,” he said. “In addition, two short-term research training workshops are expected to train 50 to 80 Ghanaian researchers in new research methods, grant and manuscript writing, ethics and protection of human subjects in research, and updates in the clinical care of TB and HIV patients.”
Every summer, meanwhile, three to five Brown University students will go to the University of Ghana to do research. The Ghanaian researchers trained through the program will provide greater mentorship for those students.
In addition to Kwara, other key faculty members on the grant are Omar Galarraga, of the Brown University School of Public Health and professors Margaret Lartey and Richard Adanu of the University of Ghana.